Evidence Fear Is Winning: Amarillo TX Spends $5,000,000 to “Upgrade” Surveillance
In the event you need any more evidence that fear is winning out over common sense, K-12 Technology reports that schools in Amarillo, TX will have “…a presence around campus when somebody can’t be there,” according to Jeff Roller, chief technology officer at ASID. Why? Because they are spending $5,000,000 to upgrade their surveillance system which will now have 2100 cameras instead of 900. And the cameras work on a motion detection system so they won’t be filming empty hallways which will the time of the “…police liaison officer and the technology department” when they review the film. From where I sit, this raises a host of questions:
- Why is Amarillo spending presumably scarce personnel resources to dedicate a police liaison officer and the time of technology staff to look at video footage?
- What kinds of “crimes” are the video cameras detecting that warrant an upgrade?
- What kinds of “crimes” do parents think they are preventing by investing in an upgrade in surveillance cameras?
- What evidence is there that this $5,000,000 investment in technology and the annual spending for a “…police liaison officer and the technology department” staff member is worthwhile?
- What other uses could be made of the $5,000,000 over the life of the bond?
I imagine that the cameras can help administrators and police identify the identities of students who scuffle in the hallway, who taunt other students, who loiter too long in the bathroom, and perhaps sneak a smoke…. but assuming the police are involved in this surveillance, it just might be a factor in the trend to criminalize typical adolescent mischief. And I imagine the cameras appeal to many Amarillo parents who are concerned enough about their children’s protection against armed outside invaders to allow their children to be surveilled throughout the day. And I imagine the taxpayers were supportive of the expenditure because of the same rationale.
So because of irrational fear we are investing billions of dollars across the nation on surveillance, police presence in schools, and technology so that our children can be “protected” from the other… and we’ve been engaged in this madness for a generation of school children… and we wonder why we spend so much on defense, why we are about to nominate a “strong man” to become the leader of one of our political parties, and why our children’s test scores are stuck? The answer is peering at us from every school hallway and more and more lampposts…..